Grand Forks, ND – Revenge is a dish best served cold. After being swept earlier in the season by Minnesota-Duluth, the University of North Dakota was looking to exact some revenge.
Coming into Friday’s game against the Bulldogs, the Fighting Hawks had lost three games in a row against the Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, on Friday, UND wasn’t able to exact revenge. With the 5-3 loss, the Bulldogs have now won four straight games against the Fighting Hawks.
During the two-games series in Duluth, the Bulldogs were definitely the better team. The Bulldogs outmuscled the Hawks up and down the ice. The Bulldogs played a complete game and taught the Hawks a painful lesson as they left Duluth pointless. Through three games, the Bulldogs still appear to be the better team.
On Friday night, things started off nicely for UND. At the 07:12 mark of the first period, the Fighting Hawks would get on the board first with a marker from freshman forward Tyson Jost. Unfortunately, that lead would last a grand total of 38 seconds.
From there, Bulldogs would play like a team that was possessed scoring four unanswered goals. Luckily for the Hawks, the Bulldogs also had two goals waved off due to goalie interference and an offside call.
In the end, none of this mattered, the Bulldogs didn’t give the Hawks anything, they were strong on the puck and didn’t lose many of the 50/50 battles. The Bulldogs were very tough in their own end and they protected the front of the net well. The Bulldogs gave the Hawks little time and space. Getting to the blue paint was very tough. The Bulldogs made life miserable for the Hawks all night long.
“I thought early on, it was a big, hard, heavy… a fast game,” UND head coach Brad Berry said. “We didn’t move pucks quick enough. We tried to get through the neutral zone and it was pretty tough for us to get through there.”
“There wasn’t a lot of time and space there. We didn’t get pucks deep and we turned it (the puck) over. Once we got it in the offensive zone it was tough to sustain a forecheck. They broke out pucks too easy on us.”
“Their D take pride in boxing out,” UND forward Johnny Simonson said. “We knew that going in, our coaches told us that and they did a good job of that tonight. It’s definitely not easy getting to the front of the net and I think we need to do a better job doing that tomorrow night.”
The Ralph, A House of Horrors
In the last 13 games, UND is 8-4-1, six of those eight wins are on the road. During those 13 games, UND is 2-4-1 at home. Losing at home doesn’t sit well with the players.
“Obviously, it’s frustrating, no one wants to lose hockey games,” Gersich said.” We play in front of 12,000 people cheering for us. It’s frustrating when we lose games and we have to learn from this right now.”
Simonson echoed his teammate’s sentiments.
“We take pride at home winning in front of our home fans in this beautiful rink,” Simonson said. “It’s definitely an advantage and it’s too bad we don’t have a better record. We take that to heart and we know that we’re going to come out with a better push tomorrow night.”
Jost Banged Up
Freshman forward Tyson Jost suffered a minor lower-body injury and didn’t play after the second period. Coach Berry didn’t seem all that concerned with the injury. It appeared that the coaching staff held him out as a precaution.
“I haven’t checked yet,” coach Berry said. He’s going to get evaluated tonight and we’ll see where he’s at. He’s a warrior and knowing him, he’ll be ready to go (tomorrow night). I want to make sure with Mark Poolman and our staff that we evaluate him and see where he’s at.
“He (Jost) was laboring a little bit and he came back into the locker room and we talked to him a little bit,” coach Berry said. “He said that he wanted to give it a go. It was more of us than anything…as a staff – as a training staff to make sure that we did the right thing. He has the mentality of keeping going, but we have to do the right thing.”